How to Win an Art Competition

If you were selected at least once to participate in a juried show, you probably discovered a success ‘formula’. If you continue pressing the ‘Submit’ button but have never received a congratulating response, read our seven tips on how to stand out among hundreds other contestants.

1. Understand the Theme.
Reading the title is not enough. When you see a new call for artists, make sure you read the concept thoroughly and understand what this competition is about. If you’re into landscapes, then, obviously, your artwork will not fit the idea of a portrait contest.

2. Understand the Title of the Competition.
Now read the title again. Very often the title prompts what kind of work you should submit to the competition. If it is called “Show Your World”, for example, then it means that you are asked to show something important or unique, which describes your life, resonates with you personally, or shows the diversity of the world we live in. Find out the specifics and respond to the call with your own unique vision.

3. Understand the Requirements.
Read about the medium, age, career level, or any other possible details to be accepted to the art competition.

4. Curate Your Artwork.
Often, more than one image is allowed to be sent for consideration. Make sure you carefully curate the images you are going to submit to a juried show. If one or more artworks do not relate, it may confuse the jurors. Avoid sending a broad variety of your artworks to show your range. Make sure you’re consistent and not confusing.

5. Name Your Files.
The best way to name the images of your artworks is to include your name, the artwork title, and the medium. You can also include the date and price if your work is for sale.

6. Understand Technical Requirements.
Upload the images in accordance with size, resolution, and dimension requirements. Edit your files before you send them to the competition. In order to do this, you don’t necessarily need to have the expensive Photoshop. There is an array of other softwares available to help you edit your images. For instance, the simple Preview on your Mac provides you with the basic editing tools.

7. Include Your Artist Statement.
Often, a submission form has a line “Additional Comments”, or “Details”. If including your artist statement is not an obligatory requirement, use the field for comments to include an excerpt from your Artist Statement, better up to 250 words. The description of your artwork is always helpful, too. Remember: your statement is not your bio. What you write should related to the project you want to participate in.

As you see, before entering the art competition you should do some ‘homework’. It may seem boring but at the end it helps the jurors understand your art better. Remember that the jurors cannot always visit your studio to view your art in person before selecting it as a finalist or a winner. There is no second chance to make the first impression. So here we go with a ‘bonus’ tip #8: send the best images of your artwork. If you cannot invest in a professional photo shoot, take pictures of your art at the best angle and with the most flattering light, when the details and colors are seen clearly. Support your entry with the concise meaningful statement. It does increase your chances to get noticed and win the art competition. // Natalie Burlutskaya, curator

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